G4 iBook Pros and Cons

Laptop buying season for me is approaching. While flipping through an issue of mobilepc (thanks gubo :wink:) an iBook caught mine eye. Usually I’d never consider getting a Mac but I today I noticed something I never noticed before. iBooks come with WiFi AND bluetooth built in (a small number of Windowz ones do). Plus the price looked reasonable.

The last time I was an Apple user was playing Number Munchers at a local library, so my Apple/Mac knowledge is a little dated. The only reason I want a laptop is to be able to change the scenery every now and then now that WiFi spots will be increasing and the price of GPRS decreasing.

So all I’ll want to do is surf (email, web, msn, you know, that old meatball), edit web pages, and listen to music (but I know that’s covered). I may want to run a few Windows programs that aren’t processor hungry. Will I be able to do that? I’m also curios what the freeware scene is like for Mac. A lot of the programs I use every are freeware (FTP, web editing, image editing, etc.)

So, is an iBook a feasible option for me?
Thanks for any kind of feedback.

A very big plus is that under the snazzy interface lurks a real Unix operating system. You’ll be able to compile gobs of free software out there on the net. Obviously you won’t be able to run Windows programs.

I think the multimedia stuff is way better than what you see on Windows. Macs are more expensive, and service is not so great in Taiwan. You can switch between English and Chinese interfaces for the entire system unlike the bullshit in Windows where you have to buy a localized version of the OS (and run the risk of getting sold a dumbed-down home version of their main OS)

What on earth are you going to do with Bluetooth?

If all you’re doing is surfing and e-mail, you won’t miss a thing going with an iBook. I got an iBook for my oldest daughter when she started college because I didn’t want to constantly maintain her machine for system updates, virus scans/disinfenction, spyware, adware, smurfware, etc. The only thing I ponied up for beyond what came with the 'book was MS Office because she may have had to do some excel/word stuff and turn in homeworks as .xls or .doc files. In any case, I overreacted since there are freeware apps that will read and format output in M$ form.

The 'nix backbone on the Apple OS means you can snag a ton of freeware/open source apps from the net. You can even get them from apple’s site. My wife has an iMac and got a PowerBook last spring. We love our apple products and I’m a dyed in the wool Wintel guy.

Let me know if you have specific questions and I’ll see if I can point you in the right diriection if I don’t know myself.


NP - NFL on CBS, Bal vs Phi, 4th Q

[quote=“Feiren”]Obviously you won’t be able to run Windows programs.

What on earth are you going to do with Bluetooth?[/quote]
I know they have Win emulators, I just don’t know how useful they are. I remember reading a long time ago (3 years mate :slight_smile:) that emulators were slow and were only good for running low end Win programs.

I’ll mainly use it to communicate with my phone for GPRS, but I could also use it for sharing files between my palm (and phone). I know IR would serve the same purpose, but I say if your going geek, go all out :smiley:.

More questions:

Will I have problems with Mac’s WiFi, or is that something of the past?

I’m pretty sure they can but I’ll ask: Can Mac’s and WinBox share files (txt, html, doc, avi, mpg, mp3, etc.) between each other with no problems?


i love my ibook. i do all the things you want to do and havent had a problem yet.

another plus is also no pop ups, so viruses.

and price wise they are very attractive. you going 12 or 14"?

Emulators VirtualPC is the most talked about wrt Apples. Dog slow on games, USB support questionable. Use it only when you have no other choice. In my case, I’d considered using it to log into the production network at work and run Windows apps in emulation mode. The VPN software my company uses doesn’t work on Macs. In the end, I just kept my windoze laptop around just for work stuff. There’s always some specialty application around that doesn’t have a MacOS version (in my case it’s the VPN software and PowerTab) where an emulator may come in handy. Most switchers I know just keep their PC lying around for just such instances.

Wi-Fi Latching onto a wireless network is a snap on a Mac. I have a D-Link wireless router and cable modem in my house. It took me about a few hours a night over a 1 week period to get my Compaq laptop to recognize the router and get my Dell desktop to talk to the laptop. I got my wife’s iMac with an Airport (Apple’s wi-fi) card and the minute I turned on the Airport card, it found the network. The downside was that at the time, DLink didn’t support OS10.3, so I had to use default setting on the router. No problem, I just shut down all file sharing between boxes. I may have some war drivers or neighbors getting free broadband access, but am otherwise safe. With every Apple unit I bring into the home, wi-fi access is a 2 minute operation. It even works that easily in airports and coffee shops.

File Sharing If your talking about networking between Wintel and Apple units, it can be done although I haven’t done it yet. If your talking about Apple units being able to read .htm(l), .doc, .xls, mp3, mpg and avi, yeah it’s pretty much no problem. I have had problems with avi’s though. I think all need is the right drivers for Quicktime. wmv’s can also be consumed by Macs by going to microsoft.com and downloading the OSX version of Windows Media Player. Same goes with yahoo, MS and AOL instant messengers. My brother lives in Seattle, uses an iMac and we both use AIM to video chat with our iSights. If we want to vid chat with a PC user, we go to YahooIM, although the vid quality really suffers. If I didn’t have MSOffice for Mac, I’d read .doc and .xls with Appleworks. Some of the formatting may get donked in really slicked up word and excel files, but your run of the mill stuff will be perfectly readable. StarOffice, I believe, will handle Office files better than Appleworks and it’s open source and there is an OSX version available. Go to macaddict.com and check out their forums. There’s a ton of info there on native OSX apps and 'nix apps that people are using to get along with the rest of the computing world.

Now for the biggest downsides If you are a gamer, Macs aren’t for you. There are Macheads who swear that with a high end Mac, you can get a really good gaming experience. Bah. The problem is at that end of the spectrum, the hardware cost disparity really start to show up. Also, there are way more games for PC’s than for Macs. The more popular games do eventually come out for Macs and they are done fairly well, but you’re better off gaming on a console or PC.

Gotta go,

NP - Trick or Treat, Neighborhood Kids (it took me an hour to post this message what with all the getting up and down to answer the door).

Just as an aside on the above post, I’m not 100% sure if it’s available (but it should be), but OpenOffice.org is an opensource branch off the StarOffice tree. AFAIK StarOffice is Sun’s commercial version.

We bought a G4 iBook earlier this year. It’s cute and will do all the things the original poster wants.

We like the painless way it connects to wireless networks.
We like the painless way it recognises and connects to peripherals.

To balance the effusion of pros in this thread, the things we don’t like about it are

The quality of the screen and case is rather poor
Don’t believe people who say Apples don’t crash! We get at least one crash a week on OSX.
It’s no sports car and is noticeably slower than our mobile-pentium notebook PC.

Do you meant you get an application crash once a week or that you get a crash requiring a system reboot once a week?

Just curious.

Closet Queen wrote [quote]Don’t believe people who say Apples don’t crash! We get at least one crash a week on OSX.[/quote]Closet Queen if you’ve got applecare I suggest you get your unique problem fixed. I’ve had a crashless Powerbook going close to 3 years now. 1 crash a week! Fuck, did pour coffee onto the keyboard?

MK, check out versiontracker.com for heaps of goodies.

[quote=“amos”]Closet Queen wrote [quote]Don’t believe people who say Apples don’t crash! We get at least one crash a week on OSX.[/quote]Closet Queen if you’ve got applecare I suggest you get your unique problem fixed. I’ve had a crashless Powerbook going close to 3 years now. 1 crash a week! Fuck, did pour coffee onto the keyboard?


I had a crash free Powerbook. Used it for a few weeks. Threw in a bigger memory stick. Crash city. A kernel panic (OSX version of BSOD - Blue Screen O’ Death so fashionable in Wintel land) every other day. Swapped the stick for a different one. No more crashes, OS or otherwise. My wife’s iMac has been crash free. My daughter’s iBook was cursed by the dreaded “logic board” problem. Had to be sent back to Apple for a full blown replace and rebuild. All covered by Steve Jobs. Took a week to get it fixed up.

Their notebooks are quite a bit more sensitive to memory compatibility issues which lead to crashes than their desktops. Even different sticks with the same part number from the same OEM will behave differently. Get your memory from a reputable vendor so you can swap them out if the sticks seem to make your book puke.

Apple certified sticks are nearly flawless, but more spendy than other suppliers like Crucial and Kingston. The other guys will stand behind their goods should you have issues but it’s a hassle to send the sticks back for different ones.


NP - Local late evening news, NBC, Our weatherman is a pinhead.

Gosh, I knew this would happen. Surely the biggest drawback in the Apple world is the conceit of some Apple users.

The original poster asked about the pros and cons of iBooks, and we have experienced both. The iBook is six-months old and has had a complete software reinstall at the Apple store. Nevertheless, we still get OS freezes or crashes. How often? It varies, but it’s enough to make it annoying. We’ve had problems with the iBook waking up from sleep mode also - this is a well-known problem. Perhaps our machine is a lemon, but the ample Web articles mentioning iBook problems means our situation is certainly not “unique”, and that’s surely relevant to the discussion - that’s all.

I see the new 14inch ibooks come with a 1.33ghz processor, 60GB HD and an DVD burning superdrive making it the same specs as my 12inch Powerbook that’s only 6 months young. Frustrating considering it’s around $NT15K different in price.

Didn’t intend to upset you there Closet Queen but l was unaware that you bought the 2nd generation ibook that had the logic board problems.

I have an IBM Thinkpad and an ibook.

Possibly it’s my low tech IQ, but I find that when things are going swimmingly, the Mac does a much better job of all of my routine tasks. setting up a new piece of software or hardware is a snap compared to the IBM. Usually it’s just put in the CD and say yes - no driver this, then load that…blah, blah, blah. That said, on the rare occasion when something goes completely tits-up, it is a nightmare to get things going again. It is vary opaque to the user beyond the extenions or settings. The IBM breaks more often, can’t find this, please install that, config this…it is easier to get put back to together. Possibly because I’m ore experienced at it.

Possibly this is a faux-pas but the Mac seems to be stricter about IP. I have a multi-region DVD player in my house, why can’t I have a multi-region DVD player on my computer?

Given the original poster is asking about ibooks I doubt he has the budget to buy a decent Mac or PC based laptop gaming machine. Pick a PC based laptop at the same pricepoint as ibooks and I doubt you would get a decent gaming experience from it either.

Yeah, gaming isn’t me key thing, but I wouldn’t mind spending a little bit more for different features. I’m also now considering the 12 inch G4 Powerbook. I’m in no hurry to get a laptop, so I have time to go mess around with Macs, research and ask more questions.

From the reviews I’ve read and looking at the specs, the smallest Powerbook seems give the most bang for the buck. It also looks like newer models should be coming out soon, so maybe I could pick one up as it gets phased out.

Does anyone recommend the extended service? I was always told it was a ripoff, but it might be different for Laptops. I also noticed they have a refurbished store on their site too (just pointing out all the options)

Applecare (extended service) is a must for laptops. Apple products can be slow to arrive in Taiwan, so I bought my 15" PowerBook in Hong Kong this summer. Shop on 12th floor of Windsor Centre (Causeway Bay) bundled free Applecare for a price similar to US price. At the time, Taiwan prices were much higher.

Don’t count on new products just yet. It’s going to take some time before G5 makes its way into PowerBooks. I doubt before the developer’s conference next July, but you might want to wait for possible updates in January. If you’re not doing digital video, or using other screen-intensive software, I’d say the 12" iBook is the most bang-for-the-buck.

On WiFi, the only problem I’ve had is in South Korea where the most prominent WiFi network, NESPOT, demands the download of a Windows-only .exe file to work. Until we hear how the Taipei city wireless network is going to work, I don’t think we can assume it will be Mac compatible. Probably, like 99%, but you never know with politicians. Hell, it might even demand a national ID card, who knows.

Yeah, I thought the service plans might be good for Mac laptops (actually laptops in genral). I worked at Best Buy for a while back home and service plans is where they made a ton of money. They were a rip-off for most (but not all) products.

I spoke with a friend back home this morning that has a iBook that’s about 2 years old. She said the cable broke somehow and had to get a new one from apple (for $80US), but other then that, no problems. She said that broke college students will use iBooks for video editing, so I guess they can’t be that bad (though it’s probably painfully slow doing somethings).

Now if I was just editing (resizing and, adding captions and effects) silly videos to put online every now and then, would the iBook be enough or would I like the extra kick of a Powerbook?

MK, I use my 12inch Powerbook to do heaps of video editing. I’m the proud producer and director of about 3 DVDs now, would be much more had I have the time. One’s of my daughter, another of my Aussie and Taiwan wedding and the final one is my masterpiece, ESL featuring me teaching in Kindergarten, Buxiban and Elementary Schools in Taiwan (this DVD alone landed me my kindy job). Video camera, imovie and idvd are magic together. itunes and iphoto can also be integrated in. My daughter’s DVD features 1) a iphoto generated slideshow with wicked cube trasitions that took 5 minutes to put together 2) as well as the movie edited piece of her 1st 12 months and 3) a music clip of movie footage with some mellow Mandarin playing in the backdrop. These 3 options can be selected from the DVD interface as soon as you put the DVD into a player. On a Powerbook, although the 12inch screen bothers some, I found it fine. On the US apple site, the new ibook that just come out has the exact same specs as my Powerbook! - 64mb vid ram, 60gb hd, g4 processor, upgradable to over 1gb of ram - I have the latest Powerbook that came out only this year! In Taiwan, you’d have to wait a while for it though. The ibooks they sell here at the moment only come with a combo drive. Only a superdrive will burn DVDs. A combo will only read them. Although you can buy an external DVD burner, it won’t work with idvd. You must buy a powerbook or ibook with a superdrive. Those who haven’t have only regretted. Check out apple.com discussions for the proof. Um if you can get your hands on an ibook with a superdrive, by the way superdrive ibooks will only start at 14inch, then consider it. Video editing on the new ones will not be a problem.

Hope that helps some.

There are lots of cool applications for the Mac now - check out http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/ for a partial list.

I’ve had my Powerbook for almost 3 years now. I just replaced the hard drive which was a real bitch. Anyway, the only complaint I have is the included Apple Mail. It’s wonderful software but runs seriously slow on my Powerbook. Though their seems to be a lot of different choices I haven’t been too keen on chat software for the Mac. I might be too critical though.

Bluetooth and wifi is a dream. Everything just works.